What is the best hairball remedy for cats, you ask?
If this question has been keeping you (and your cat) up at night lately, then boy do I have some good news for you!
Read along, as we explore what works and what doesn’t work, to get your cat to stop vomiting up those nasty hairballs all the time.
In this article, we hope to go over some of the basics:
- What are hairballs and how do they form?
- Are hairballs harmful?
- What are some of the problems that hairballs can potentially develop if left unchecked?
- What are some easy DIY ways to cure your cat’s bout with hairballs?
- What are some things that you can do to prevent hairballs from forming again in the future?
- What are some things you want to avoid, that won’t work very well?
- Ultimately: What is the best hairball remedy for cats?
Having said, let’s delve right into this topic and explore it in complete depth, now shall we?
What are hairballs and how do they form?
Anyone who has spent any amount of time around cats already knows that self-grooming is one of their defining characteristics. Self-grooming is what makes a cat a cat. They will lick themselves all day long, in an effort to keep themselves clean. One might even think that cats have OCD, the way they are constantly stopping what they are doing to get those licks in.
But have you ever wondered: If they lick themselves, wouldn’t they inevitably lap up some of their own loose fur in the process? The answer is yes. It can happen. And it can happen completely unbeknownst to anyone – we humans, let alone the cats themselves. When cats swallow individual strands of fur, it might seem innocuous. After all, it can always be pooped out the other end, right?
Sometimes, though, the fur might actually not make its way through the cat’s digestive track. It might end up getting stuck in the cat’s stomach instead. Now imagine that over the course of several days, if your cat continuously licks itself and continuously, what will happen?
The cumulative effect will be that each of these individual fur follicles can become intertwined and grow massively in size… This is similar to what happens when hair gets clogged in a shower drain gradually over the course of time. And this becomes what is known as a “hairball” or a “furball”, and gets stuck in your cat’s stomach.
Are hairballs harmful?
In and of themselves, hairballs are harmless. After all, it’s just fur. Under normal circumstances, you would expect fur to just pass through the digestive tract, and get pooped out in the end (pun intended). After all, it’s not as though it can be absorbed by the body.
However, the cumulative effect of too much fur, all combining to form a hairball can be problematic. But even still, the mammalian mechanism for self-regulation would, under normal circumstances, trigger a gag reflex and cause your cat to vomit up the hairball. So generally speaking, hairballs in and of themselves do not pose any harm to cats, so long as they are able to regurgitate them and expel them. They need to be expelled one way or the other (pun intended, again)!
What are some of the problems that hairballs can potentially develop if left unchecked?
In most cases, hairballs are expelled from the cat’s body through vomiting. However, in some rare cases, what might happen is that the hairball grows to become too massive and too taut to be able to simply be vomited out. So what ends up happening is that the hairball just kind of “sits there” and becomes this big massive obstruction in your cat’s digestive passageway.
This can grow to become a potential problem. Logically speaking, it can impede the digestive process by virtue of the fact that it has literally formed a blockade within the confines of the digestive tract.
This can result in a myriad of problems:
- loss of appetite
- weight loss
- weakened immune system
- increased fur loss
- difficulty with excretion
In this case, it might be wise to seek help from a professional veterinarian, if it ever reaches to that point!
Having said that, you may want to consider trying do-it-yourself home care solutions on your cat first, and save yourself a trip to the veterinarian. Read on for some helpful tips!
What are some easy DIY ways to cure your cat’s bout with hairballs?
There a number of things you can do to cure your cat’s hairball affliction:
Temporarily reduce its dietary intake.
By giving your cat less food, less frequently, it will give its digestive system a chance to rest, and process whatever food that it can. Too much food at once can fill up the void in the stomach where the obstruction is caused by the hairball. This can result in severe discomfort, belly bloat, and vomiting.
Feed your cat specially formulated hairball control cat food and cat treats.
You can either supplement your cat’s current diet with specially formulated hairball control cat treats. Or you could replace your cat’s entire diet with specially formulated hairball control cat food altogether.
What are some things that you can do to prevent hairballs from forming again in the future?
Preventative measures to help stave off further episodes of hairball vomiting might include brushing your cat and bathing it.
Brushing your cat is all about being proactive. Your cat is going to lick its fur no matter what. So you, as the pet owner, might as well be proactive and remove any of that pesky loose fur before your cat gets to it! This way, when your cat does lick itself, there will be less loose fur swallowed up in the process.
Bathing your cat is also an effective way to proactively approach the problem. It can also help to remove any loose cat fur that might otherwise have been swallowed by your cat. In fact, bathing your cat might be a good idea to do in conjunction with brushing your cat. Once you have brushed it, you can bathe it for good measure.
What are some things you want to avoid, that won’t work very well?
This is going to sound somewhat obvious, but I feel that somebody has to say it: The last thing you want to do is punish your cat. You do not want to vent out your frustration on your cat.
As annoying as it may be, to have to pick up after your cat’s vomit, it is something that you have to learn to deal with. And whatever better way to deal with the problem, then with patience and devising a logical action plan to do something about it?
Ultimately, what is the best hairball remedy for cats?
All in all, the best hairball remedy for cats is the dietary approach as described above. It’s all about your cat’s digestive health. It’s all about preventing fur from getting into your cat’s body in the first place. You’re not going to be able to stop it from licking itself. (And you certainly don’t want to do anything to deprive your cat of that natural instinct. Some people might put socks on their cats’ paws, but that would be a cruel way to undermine their ability to fulfill a natural instinct.)
The bottom line, is that the best hairball remedy for cats ultimately relies upon trial and error.
What do you think? Please do share your comments below.